‘They just don’t seem that interested’: Repeat break-in victim unimpressed by VPD crackdown
A Vancouver man says he’s unconvinced that Vancouver police are taking vehicle break-ins seriously, despite a recent crackdown on auto crime.
Vancouver police said Thursday that officers had made more than two dozen arrests related to vehicle break-ins, many allegedly involving repeat offenders, and have recommended more than 80 charges.
Police said the arrests came after a group of officers was assigned to downtown Vancouver break-in hotspots in the run up to the holidays.
It comes amid a spike in thefts from vehicles, with police reporting more than 1,200 incidents in November of this year, compared to just under 900 that same month in 2016.
That’s no surprise to Bill Gould, who, like many Vancouver residents, says he’s had his truck broken into multiple times.
But he said his experiences have involved anything but a speedy resolution.
Gould said the most recent incident happened in 2015, when his vehicle was broken into for the third time in front of his home near Oakridge Mall. He confronted the thief, who fled, and called police who sent a K9 unit.
“And the guy, he’d just left like five minutes before, and his clothing was still in my car so it’s a perfect situation where you could get the dog to smell the clothes, and go after him, right?” said Gould.
“But no, he didn’t take fingerprints and the dog didn’t even get out of his car.”
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Several months later, Gould said he was further frustrated when he dug up his own lead in the case, which he said was also rebuffed by police.
Gould said he spotted the same man who broke into his truck in a documentary about the Downtown Eastside, which included his name.
“And I screen captured some of his pictures, I talked to the cops about it. They said, well call the cop who originally came out. And he never returned my call. Their lack of interest just amazes me,” he said.
“They’ve captured a whole bunch of people downtown for breaking into vehicles. Why aren’t they interested in my guy when I’ve got his picture and I’ve got his name and it’s on TV? I mean, come on.”
In an email, VPD spokesperson Jason Doucette said he couldn’t speak to the specific incident.
“I personally have had my car broken into and I can relate to the level of frustration by your audience,” he said.
Doucette said officers are highly trained as to when to deploy police dogs or attempt to lift prints, which are determined by factors on the ground.
“Unfortunately, TV shows can make police work easier than it is,” he said.
He added the best defence for vehicle owners is to leave their cars empty so as not to tempt thieves.
That’s not enough for Gould, who said he’s hit a dead end every time he’s contacted police after a vehicle break-in.
“They just don’t seem that interested. Maybe it’s the paperwork.”
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